Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Prosperous Future

As I wrap up 2008, I have to admit it’s been a good year. Maybe that’s because it started off on the right foot.

I met a lot of new humans, most of who are so cool that I count myself lucky to be associated with them…one in particular is just realizing she controls her own hands.

I’ll usher in 2009 the same way I did with 2008: surrounded by friends. As a reader of too many news and science articles, I admit it is not always easy to maintain a rosy picture of our species and planet, but it is celebrations like tonight’s ritual renewal where I can’t help feel that everything will be just fine.

So I wish you and yours a Happy New Year!

See you on the other side.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I just wanted popcorn and Dots

Should I go see The Day the Earth Stood Still?

That was the question in mind when I jumped on the Goog. I read a few reviews and decided that every remake is castigated by critics...whatever, I’m going to see it anyway.

Then I checked the Goog Reader and saw that one of my favorite science sites had also reviewed it. But before they launched into their ‘meh’ review, they typed one of the most saddest things I’ve read:

“...they [astrobiologists] [ed note: I bet it sounds cooler than it really is] have speculated that more advanced lifeforms are exceedingly rare: consider that for 85 per cent of the 4 billion years life has existed on Earth, no multicellular creatures arose. So the rapid extinction of many species here would be a significant blow to the biodiversity of the entire galaxy, not just the Earth’s.”

Wow. Not only do humans shoulder the guilt for the Earth, but the entire Universe?


This movie review—-combined with the gloomy economic news, the freezing temperatures, the smelly homeless man that I couldn’t stand touching me on the train, and a week of restless sleep—-has me seriously in the negative on Respect-for-Humanity points. Tack onto that the clear realization that I am just as guilty! It’s not some phantom Republican who is burning “clean” coal in a hospital maternity ward. I carry my groceries home in plastic bags, for chrissakes! I’m a conspirator!

Luckily, there are two days ahead in which I have complete control over my schedule and I’m taking suggestions from you on how to balance myself out by Monday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sushi crime fighters

We can all attest with some sadness that Saturday morning cartoons are no longer what they used to be. We all had our favorites (though mine were limited because our antennaed television on the farm only picked up 4-5 channels) and look upon these creations as pure blasphemy.

Well, this morning I woke up early with nothing to do, so I went channel surfing. That's when I discovered the wacky world of the Sushi Pack. They are tiny pieces of sushi that fight crime using their wits first...and culinary weapons only as a last resort.

Villain: "No you don't, crab cakes!"

Weapons include the ability to shoot fish eggs or multicolored ink and lobster pinchers. A tiny sidekick (Wasabi) speaks incoherently while shooting fireballs.

My opinion: Too much awesomeness. But I wonder how many 3-6 year old hotdog eaters know what sushi is? Or does it matter?

Then again, I didn't know half of what was going on in He-Man, I just knew that I was going to be him when I grew up. Does that mean this new generation will grow up with fantasies of becoming crime-fighting condiments?

I now want a pet Wasabi for Christmas...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Never say never. Dare ya.

Regrets, as most will agree, are viewed as a waste of time. Some friends have expressed proudly to me that they have NO regrets. That’s like saying I’m above reality television: Bullshit.

Regrets can also conveniently be turned into learning experiences. In high school, I accidentally insulted the class Wiccan. He claimed the ability to make it rain, so you can imagine my horror of turning around and finding him staring deep into my now damned soul. I felt terrible and have ever since been more careful before making fun of others. This regret turned into a Life Lesson, therefore making me appreciate that it occurred in the first place.

But I will go on record right now as having one regret. Just one. And it's a biggie.

In college, for our annual Flunk Day celebration (school sanctioned celebration), I booked Chicago’s Kill Hannah as the musical entertainment instead of...


Ugh. Now you see why. There’s no lesson to be had. I couldn’t have seen a few months into the future when they’d release their sensational treadmill video. My error has forever left a void in the hearts of every student...a garish gash upon the gentle, porcelain veneer that is Coe College. No offense meant to Kill Hannah, of course.

What's your greatest regret?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My elitist magazine tastes pointed me to a very interesting New Yorker article written by none other than Jonah Lehrer.

Why does the article stand on its own? Because it includes a story about firefighters (awesome!) AND finding out exactly why humans have insights (Aha!).

Ever had a great idea in the shower? Read the latest theory on why.

And then subscribe to Lehrer's blog.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


By grace (and modern medicinal steroids), my eye has healed. As quick as the right retina contracted the eye cold, it just as quickly went back to normal.

Using my newfound 20/20, I read a fascinating study this morning which provides a perfectly adequate explanation for my response to the malady. The study says that the willpower contained in our prefrontal cortex is proportionate to the calculating load that our brains can manage. This means that if you are using lots of brainpower to concentrate on something big, the amount of willpower at your disposal will be severely lacking.

Stress eaters find this as no surprise, but I’ve never been one. Imagine my shock then, that by excessively worrying about my eye this week, I suddenly sought to satisfy my comfort cravings NO MATTER WHAT...and my diet growing up dictates that sugar is my comfort food. With a feeble brain on full pink eye alert, I had to hold back the urge to chug on packets of Splenda. Hour upon hour I would drink honey tea so full of sugar that it had the taste (and texture) of cotton candy.

Now, with the eye healed and stress dissipating, I get to confront a dark, visceral addiction to sweets. My usual afternoon snack of almonds tastes like cardboard. I choke on water. Irritable. Moody. Delusions that I can fly. Fantasies of building a refinery in my's getting out of control.

Of course, I’ll need massive amounts of caffeine just to make it through tomorrow...but that’ll be another entry.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Catch-20/20 with no end in sight

I count myself lucky to so rarely take ill. Other than a seasonal cough, most bugs don’t stick around in my system for too long. This may very well explain why I’m such a whiny brat when my health gives the slightest sign of weakness.

Enter pink eye. Yes--that infection of the ocular nature everyone contracted once in grade school when it was okay to stick your dirty little grubs in other people’s faces.

Except I’m not nine years old. And I certainly don’t tolerate dirty hands touching my eyeballs. So, why me?

Beyond that, why pink eye? Instead of a nice, easy cold that I could suppress with trippy drugs and yummy teas, I instead get to wear the careless disregard for my immune system on my face! And people definitely treat you with less sympathy than if you had a nagging cough—-especially when I can’t seriously look them in the face because of a droopy eyelid. Damn you, conjunctivitis!

For many years, I’ve worn contacts. I wear them so much that I never replaced my broken eyeglasses from college. Now I stare back, red faced and pink eyed, at my optometrist who tells me that not only can I NOT wear my contacts, but I CANNOT get a new prescription for eyeglasses until my eye heals.

Do optometrists have to take the Hippocratic Oath like other doctors?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Testic Lit, copied!

Esquire has released it's 75 Books Every Man Should Read.

Only one direct match to Testic Lit (Saunders' Civilwarland in Bad Decline, which was submitted to me by a female friend), but many authors crossed over including Vonnegut, McCullough, and Kerouac.

PS They totally copied me. The criteria was, "...unranked, incomplete, utterly biased list of the greatest works of literature ever published." Sounds a lot like what I was asking for...

Monday, September 15, 2008

In a flurry of unpreparedness...

...I boarded a plane to Nebraska last Thursday for a weekend visit. Trips to my homeland are few and far between, so I beg family members to cram the entire weekend with as many celebratory gatherings as possible. I returned home late last night reeking of airport plush and heavy muscles from all the lugging.

Friday, it all began with a family day-cation to Yankton, SD. This border town boasts a large dam, the resulting Lewis and Clark Lake, and per capita the largest number of pickups and boats that take glee in blocking traffic. Though I spent most of my childhood summers here, driving over the dam never fails to scare the living heck out of me. (When playing at the beaches, I often had day-mares that I would fall asleep on a water noodle and wake up finding myself being sucked down to the turbine vents. Worst. Possible. Death. Imaginable. Ensues. And surprised fishermen watch as a shredded noodle pops out on the other side.)

The highlight of the trip though, was spending time with the newest addition to our family: Lola, my fresh-faced and surprisingly smiley-happy niece. She’s my new fave. And of course, I’m hers.

We finished the day defining the word gluttony at Jo-Dean’s, “a South Dakota tradition” famous for OD’ing on (most certainly NOT safe-caught) seafood. For $20, you can belly up to a buffet of shark, eel, frog legs, and other aquatic fare. It’s utterly weird to witness but tastes great when washed down with a Bud Light.

Saturday found my father and I doing our best to make sure my mom’s 50th surprise birthday party stayed a surprise. It did, she was thrilled, and we saw many old friends and extended family.

Sunday was Lola’s baptism. I made friends with a Catholic deacon who couldn’t stop hugging me, became a godparent for the first time, and swore -- in front of a statue of Jesus, no less -- that I’d lead her to a fulfilling life of servitude to the church. Afterwards, we celebrated Lola’s escape from Limbo by dining at Valentino’s – a favorite childhood restaurant of mine only because their spaghetti sauces contain so much sugar that you need an insulin chaser.

Then comes the return flight to Chicago. I would never classify myself as a sentimental person – conversations regarding weddings, funerals, etc. make me so uncomfortable I tend to eject a Hallmark-template response and walk away from the situation as fast as socially acceptable. I also RAN at my first opportunity to move away after high school.

It must be a sign of aging, then, that for the first time I felt nostalgic about leaving the people and place that represented my upbringing. Even more odd was that I was more at home in the airplane 25,000 feet above both the place I used to call home and the city I do now. I fittingly happened across an article about Restless Life Syndrome which described a person who needed to rewrite their life every 6-12 months. I’m not sure that at age 27 I can identify with the solution they propose, but I can certainly relate to the idea that after leaving a bit of myself in so many places, I feel a bit disconnected from the person I’ve actually become.

Thankfully, I don’t have much time to dwell on it. If you need me, I’ll be at the gym for the rest of the month.

View from breakfast at Mahoney Park.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Spirit Issue

What do you believe in?

I believe in Friends. They are the best.

Also, I believe in Mangoes. They taste good with pretty much anything.

As well as Telling Stories, Love after love, and Curiosity.

Now you...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aliens in the ocean

Cooooool! Think my roommates will let me get one?

Thanks Coudal

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Twinsies leaves a review of Conor Oberst similar to mine, but not necessarily in such a positive light...

"For a few years Conor Oberst was the older brother I never had -- he experienced everything first and left me a detailed map of the empty apartments, serious breakups and unquenchable longings that define late adolescence. These days, my anxieties involve repaying school loans, carving out a professional life and fitting all of my responsibilties into roughly 17 wakeful hours a day. While these concerns are surely less romantic than what preceded them, I can't help wondering what Oberst would have to say about early adulthood. If he has half the insight and descriptive power at 28 that he had at 16, I can only hope the dust and tumbleweeds clear so we can hear what's really on his mind."

Victory is sweet, even deep in the cheap seats...

I can’t help but talk about Conor Oberst’s (of Bright Eyes) first solo album, available yesterday. I learned of the release only last week, but have been obsessing about it ever since.

The Bright Eyes years were essentially a haunting road trip for the lovelorn, depressed, or quietly observant. But then comes Cassadaga, released in April of 2007. I STILL am finding appreciation for those tracks...Lime Tree and Hot Knives, in particular.

His lyrics at times make no sense whatsoever. That is, until you experience a subtle loss or gain, be it friend or lover or pet or job or bit of pride, and you suddenly realize he’d been warning you all along…but will never claim that he told you so. (See: We Are Nowhere and Its Now. I couldn’t find the version sung with Emmylou Harris, but if you listen to it you’ll definitely need to call a friend just to say hello.)

Some fans wouldn’t agree with me, but I wholeheartedly claim he’s gotten better with every album. So natch, I’m excited to listen nonstop all weekend.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Top 13 Testic Lit Reads of Summer 2008

I apologize for the delay in revealing the Summer 2008 Testic Lit List, but with good friends in town and a busy work schedule, it got pushed to the side. Besides, I couldn’t possibly rush something as significant as what will most likely be the first in a long series of incredibly famous lists.

The Summer 2008 Testic Lit List came to fruition from the following sources: diligent research, anecdotal recommendations from friends and colleagues, suggestions gleaned from thousands of comments left by loyal readers, and some interesting books I saw on the train ride to work this morning. Some stories have recently appeared while most are/should be classics.

Without further ado, here are the Top 13 Testic Lit Reads of Summer 2008 in no particular order. So dig that library card out of that shoebox in the closet and git runnin. These selections are sure to gently stimulate your giant intellect for the rest of the summer.

T.C. Boyle, Tortilla Curtain
You don’t get anymore testicular when you can summarize a story with the words tortilla, environmental destruction, and xenophobia.

Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
A story about a brother raising his younger after the death of their parents. Dave is a Chicago native and the novel (Creative nonfiction? Memoir?) is praised for its wild and manic-depressive tone. Thanks Nyberg.

George Saunders, Civilwarland in Bad Decline
Six short stories and a novella. Smart satire for the summer; about the ridiculousness of the modern world. Per DNALand

Jonah Lehrer, Proust Was a Neuroscientist
This is an easy-to-follow book about how eight artists who were tortoises to the hares of science. If you don’t mind your eyes being opened to the world of literature, food, and a little history, this is a must-read. You will appear incredibly intelligent and sexy to anyone you’re trying to bag.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Honestly, I’ve started and stopped this book three times. Not because it’s unworthy, but because I’ve never been man enough to handle the rambunctious journey. Maybe 2008 is the year? Per White Collar Redneck

Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle
Meet ice-nine, a compound that turns liquid water into solid. It’s got science, religion, and the end of the world. Everything a growing boy needs.

Anthony Doerr, The Hunter’s Wife
This is a short story that, after finishing, kept me still for three train stops because I was so struck by its words. Not for the vegetarians.

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
This borders on chic lit only in its title. In fact, this meandering tale theorizes why humans began to stand upright, comments on the irony of gyms, and is a great story about pilgrimage. Perfect substitute for an actual walk.

Isaac Asimov, The Last Question
A very short story that answers all your questions about the future and God. Hint: He does not have a long, white beard.

Evolution’s Workshop: God and Science on the Galapagos Islands
A personal favorite due to my obsession with this island chain. Features pirates, rats, and delicious tortoises whose meat keeps for months!

David McCullough, 1776
A militarized (and very popular) account of the American Revolution. The rebellion was bred into us.

Oscar Wilde, Picture of Dorian Gray
Completely haunting. I read it frequently. Then stab myself.

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Say what you want about Rand or her philosophies, but this has sex, trains, and perpetual motion engines. Read this last, as its 645,000 words will surely take you until my next list is released.

Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma
DNALand lent it to me at the bar last night. C'mon, anything involving food...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Call for submissions: Testic Lit

Inspired by one of my faves who has been mentioning her personal “chic lit” progress all summer, I’ve decided to research and compile one for the boys.

Let’s call it...Testic Lit. ("dick lit" sounded far too plebeian)

This list—--for the men out there who find themselves yearning for a bit more than occasional GQ magazine or blockbuster action flick---will cover all things that happen to be fucking cool.

This list MAY include:

-Current events, pirates, money, murder, gadgets, music, sex, sin, and gratuitous violence.
-Distinguished authors. Let's go for quality plus excitement with this list.

This list may NOT include

-Comic books (let’s not dig ourselves any deeper);
-Stories containing the words nail polish, romance, shopping, self-help, Prada, pregnancy, or feminine napkin;
-Any book with the words “eat”, “love” and “pray” in the title;
-References to Mars/Venus, unless you happen to be battling aliens on said planets;
-Descriptive metaphors for sex acts (I’m talking to YOU hot and pulsing root of manhood);
-No lame mysteries that you buy from the checkout stand at Wal-Mart.

This may prove harder than we think. In a few quick Google searches, I uncovered only lists that helped men to find Christ, resolve identity problems, and books men should read if they ever felt like engaging in domestic violence.

So provide me with some recommendations in the comments section. Haven't read it yet? I don't care. I’ll compile them on Monday and we’ll have a handy guide to getting through the strapping, broad shouldered tome at a time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You'll beg me not to leave you...

For quite a few months now, I’ve been gazing at this amazing little portal into another dimension.

You see, a few months ago, I applied and was accepted to a number of graduate programs very much NOT in my current field and in very much WARMER, PALM TREE-LINED climates. Obviously I wussed out because...well, I’m a wuss.

Fate: Hey! Try something new with your life!
Me: Nah.

Anyway, these PALM TREE-LINED campuses keep sending me reminders to register for classes, find housing, apply for funding, and even meet my new professors. I haven’t the heart to unsubscribe. In fact, I NEED these communications lately. They come with pretty images of campus and I start fantasizing about going to college to learn all over again. Actually, those fantasies more or less involve me living on the beach and having a six-pack. Wha?

With the pictures of palm trees, I start thinking about the missed opportunity I had with the aquarium fundraising offer. I mean, constant beach/sand/pool/sea turtle life would be quite welcome right now. Plus I love enchiladas and margaritas and this place was like forty paces from the Mexico border (only if you’re bring chased under the light of a new moon). The pay vs. cost of living also would have me probably owning some sort of water recreational vehicle. For sure. Oh, plus pools in every apartment complex. Makes the 5x5 backyard deck seem not so cool, huh?

Alas, portals into other dimensions are often rose-colored, at least in my sad and sardonic universe: First, my mentor for my favored grad program was killed in a motorcycle accident this summer. That means, I would have made plans and moved to Florida only to not be trained by the best. Also, everyone knows that grad school is NOT undergrad bong-filled frat parties and instead perseverance and academic competition.

Secondly, the aquarium I would have been employed at is currently witnessing the Eye of God (aka eye of Hurricane Dolly). As I say no more to Iowa, God’s wrath washes away the entire business district; I say no to Corpus Christi, Hello Dolly; I say no to graduate school and the lead professor has an accident.


So maybe all of these decisions (are they regrets?) were the right ones. But then again (how often do you get to quote Fight Club?): "On a long enough timeline..."

Who is cool? I am.

Sunday, I saw Dark Knight like everyone else in America who’s cool.

My opinion? It was too loud, too long, and I left the theater with the urge to jump off of a tall building. EVERYTHING a summer blockbuster should be! Action flicks should be nothing but eardrum rupturing explosions roaring away for two and half hours while instilling our male youth with a false sense of invisibility. On my deathbed, my only regret shall be that I didn’t somehow acquire superpowers.

As for all the talk about Heath, I could barely tell it was him under all that glorious insanity (will someone practice the disappearing pencil trick with me? I'll be Joker). A minor disappointment was that Batman’s fighting technique more closely resembled “barroom brawl” when compared to the stealthy HOW DID YOU COME OUT OF NOWHERE TEACH ME ninja moves from Batman Begins?

Monday, apparently the sky above Chicago—like most roads, train tracks, elevators, stairways, and sidewalks—is under construction. Covering it until repairs are complete is an ominous, misty, warm, cloud (see picture...which is also goes well with the Dark Knight convo). I call it God’s Armpit mainly cuz the city also smelled like the world’s biggest one. It's better than calling it The Mist, which would give me daymares of walking to the train. PS have you seen this movie? I recommend it if you feel like hating humanity for two straight hours then being swiftly punched in the nuts.

On my way to lunch, I nearly ran into my old boss. It was soooo obvious that she had seen me—but deliberately ignored me—because I could read her lips which were silently wording a prayer that I’d ignore her the same. Normally, I’d quash all that hope and lavish loud and awkward conversation all over her face. But I also left that job with us both agreeing I was a shit-for-brains slacker. So I played her game. Thank you, years of 9-5ing...thanks for transforming me into just a shell of who I used to be...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

why not me?

You have no idea how pissed I am not to be in line for Dark Knight. Damn you, IMAX website!!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Obesity in America

There is something incredibly therapeutic about consuming string cheese. My guess is that it’s the only time you are encouraged to play with your food, save for peeling fruit. All of our food should be peel-able before eating.

In my 27th year of life, I’ve finally started eating better. I feel this is quite an accomplishment, considering my upbringing AND the fact that I’m doing this now and not 10/20/never years from now.

As a growing boy, my scrawny body worked really hard to absorb every last existing nutrient out of Little Debbie HoHo’s and pop. I grew up on a farm where vegetables were really only consumed 3-4 months out of the year (garden) while the rest of my meals consisted of fatty beef or pork (one time pets of mine) combined with potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes. And soda. Averaging 2-4 a day. My dear readers, this should come as no surprise, especially when you reference the state of Nebraska on this map.

High school and college eating habits were predictable enough: whatever I could afford, meaning fast food (fear not Wendy’s, I’ll never stop loving you…from afar), noodles, or colorless cafeteria fare.

With full time employment and free evenings post-graduation, menus were (still no complaint here) alcohol and late night pizza. I’d actually hope that I’d pass out before finishing the WHOLE pie.

Then came the doctors appointment a few months ago, where I was shocked (!?) to learn I had high cholesterol. This, combined with a less than impressive midsection, led me to believe that perhaps the exercise and healthy-eating habits of others weren’t simply a fad I could continue to ignore.

So now, I run and swim and stick to a depressingly “diet-sounding” diet authored by some healthnut douchebag at Men’s Health. (I really should be getting paid for glowing endorsements like this.)

I am again shocked (!?) to see that it works. I feel betterish, more energeticish...all those things annoyingly fit people say to others. The belly will always need work of course; you can’t expect to work miracles against arteries clogged with 27-year-old high fructose corn syrup.

And let’s be honest, I’d still kill for a slice of pizza and a Mountain Dew.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

So pretty...

Thanks ang for pointing me in this direction. I've played with word cloud generators before, but this one is the prettiest.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

This morning I thought I saw Donald Sutherland on Michigan Avenue. Though misplaced and in error, the resulting excitement has left a residual smile on my face. Turned out to be a homeless man, to whom I gave a quarter.

Unrelated: There has been some speculative debate that the Large Hadron Collider (I mistyped one of those words on the first try, btw) will be plugged in after completion and immediately create a black hole that swallows the earth. In the name of science, build the damn thing, already. Any negative result—such as a black hole—is probably the coolest way to die ever, and I’d drag all 6.8 billion of you with me. Paradoxically (fun! cosmo-speak!), the prestige of dying as a result of being squished to singularity is pretty much lost when 6.8 billion go the same way.

Clarification: Chances it creates a black hole are apparently minimal and even if so, it would probably evaporate immediately. Yeah scientists, I’m sure you’ll be screaming that when you hit the event horizon.

Homework: Use “In the name of science!” somewhere in conversation today. Let me know how it goes.

Monday, March 31, 2008

A Necessary Weekend

It is truly amazing what an early Friday dismissal from work can do for the rest of your weekend. Between the extra time to catch up on rest and more time at the gym, Saturday and Sunday found me far more relaxed and in control of my schedule than I can remember in many moons.

Each weekend morning, I exploited the agreeable morning weather for a walk to catch up on Radio Lab podcasts. These are so incredibly entertaining; I can’t rave about them enough. One live show in particular focused on the War of the Worlds radio hoax back in the ‘30’s – I can’t imagine a more interesting way to learn about what turned out to be a neat though unintended sociological experiment. Also unknown to me was that a Mexican radio station attempted to revive the hoax a few decades later…too well perhaps. The ensuing panic resulted in six deaths. Sad, yes, but if you want to go back to being happy, be sure to listen to the Laughter episode next. Passerby's on the street will certainly think you're crazy...

My work week will stand in stark contrast to the weekend—I am managing two sponsor projects for this month’s First Fridays event. Both require lots of hands-on-ness and I’m lighting a candle each evening requesting that Mother Nature not rain on this expensive parade (both figuratively and meteorologically—forecasts predict a precipitous doom).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

More Lazy, Here I Come

Most excellent - what may not deliver can still be delivered to you thanks to NightOwl Deliveries.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Guilt and Red Wine

I feel just terrible for being away for so long. Actually I don't care, but it's been difficult to find something to write about and I've been busy scouring the city for moose heads. And as for topics, I feel a bit wayward lately, so anyone got a new milieu I can occupy? At the least, send me the definition of milieu so I can use it correctly next time (though I got the spelling right on the first try...FYP!). Totally shitty spellchecker. Nevermind.

Today has been quite exciting...I have purchased:

1) A haircut. If you're in Chicago or within the general Midwestern US vicinity, I recommend Dominique. She rocks my scalp.

2) Planetarium Vial Gardens. It strokes both the mad scientist and wanna-be green thumb in me. I opted for the basil and tomato plants. Buckle your seat belts for regular picture updates! YEAH!

3) Swim goggles. For swimming, not raving.

4) Gym membership...providing an appropriate venue to use the aforementioned.

Since I can tell you're all in a list mood, I feel obliged to report on the progress that I made on goals set in the last post.

1 & 2: It's been far too cold, therefore I've abandoned the idea of ice skating for the time being. Maybe when global warming gets a better foothold.

3: Obviously, I cleared the hurdle of packing, because I now live in a frat house / ski lodge.

5: Finished I Am Legend in, like, four minutes (loved it, as I suspected) and

7: celebrated by drinking red wine nonstop until today (that's 7,259,345,346 bottles, folks).

Finally, I wish to apologize for calling Disney's animation efforts an 'abomination.' last month. I was high on red wine.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Face That Looks of Love Lost

Heading into the three-day weekend, I realize that I have made no plans whatsoever. To be quite honest, I keep forgetting that there are THREE WHOLE DAYS of freedom spread out before me, just begging me to lay waste to each one over the dulled blade of slothfulness.

So, I have made a List:
1) Go ice skating.
2) Admit I’m a sadomasochist. See 1.
3) Begin packing my bedroom.
4) Get a haircut, ya hippy!
5) Read Matheson’s I Am Legend cover-to-cover.
6) Watch a crazy-large number of episodes of Prison Break, Season 1.
7) Drink red wine in generous quantities. 7.5)Guilt-free.
8) Don’t lie when you report on your List progress on Tuesday.

I have an idea about why I forgot about this weekend: I had fantastic plans last night, which overshadowed all others. I and a few friends are apparently making a coldest-day-of-winter tradition out of Redmoon theater productions. Last night included a warm belly full of Italian food from Oggi Trattoria before an incredible recreation of Victor Hugo’s Hunchback. The food was mediocre but the company and entertainment excellent. The Redmoon cast used puppets, shadows, actors, and masks to retell the story; Hugo even made an appearance to offer commentary and clear up a few details. The show was extended to February, so I recommend you go – there’s no better way to spend a cold winter’s night than in the heart of 1482 Paris in all of its diseased and dirty wonder. I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t at all familiar with the plot, never having read the story. In this age of Disney abominations – replete with a Happy Ending for all - the story of ghastly characters and a tragic ending was oddly refreshing. So, Hunchback is now on the List To Do Before I Die By Hanging. Because that’s how Hugo would have it.

And since it’s Friday, I have an interesting discussion to share. Not the inaccurate and confusing news story itself, but the implications of our decision to communicate…or keep quiet (and therefore alive, just long enough for us to destroy ourselves).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"The Emissions Thing"

Everyone loves to gang up on Texas (in the absence of Texans), but I couldn't help pulling this quote from a climate story from yesterday. Apparently, if Texas were its own country (it isn't?), it would be the seventh-worst carbon emitter on the planet. This makes it the dirtiest state in the US.

My favorite part: Debbie Howden, an Austin real estate agent, said her family of six has two pickup trucks, three SUVs, and no apologies. "I would definitely put size and safety over THE EMISSIONS THING," said Howden, 55. She calls their high fuel bills a "necessary evil."

[Emphasis my own, but hardly necessary.]

This everything-is-bigger-including-our-ignorance mentality was a contributing factor to my decision NOT to move to Corpus Christi last fall. Yes, it was at first difficult: There was the lure of a plush aquarium job, sandy beaches, sea turtles/dolphins/otters (each earns a collective aww), and the Gulf of Mexico out my kitchen window.

But, there were also sooo many Texans.